Jan. 6, 2015

If you missed the Sustainability Summit events at the SustainableUW Festival, you can now watch the Husky Highlight keynote speech and Huskies for Humanity Speakers panel online at UWTV.

The University of Washington is known for being a higher education sustainability leader, and last October for the first time those efforts were celebrated with the week-long SustainableUW Festival. One of the key events during the festival was the Sustainability Summit, featuring the Huskies for Humanity panel of Deans and students discussing the topic of "Solving Grand Challenges," and the Husky Highlight keynote address from Karen Baebler, Assistant Director of Athletics for Sports Operations on UW Athletics' sustainability efforts.

In addition to posting the videos online, UWTV will also be broadcasting the panel and keynote on Channel 27. Check the UWTV schedule for airtimes. 

The Sustainability Summit was one piece of the SustainableUW Festival, which had a program of events hosted by departments and organizations across UW, including UW Surplus, the UW Farm, Society for Ecological Restoration, UW Athletics, the Department of Global Health, UW Study Abroad, the Program on Climate Change and many more.

In addition to highlighting sustainability initiatives underway at UW, a goal of the festival was to showcase student efforts and help connect students with UW departments as well as outside organizations to advance sustainability.

The Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability office organized the festival and hosted the centerpiece events – an exhibitor fair on Red Square followed by the Sustainability Summit and poster session on Wednesday evening.

The fair featured more than 50 exhibitors from inside and outside UW talking about their sustainability efforts. Even in a steady rain, crowds gathered under the tents to hear the messages (and sample free sustainable food and drink from some of Housing and Food Services’ vendors). Information was distributed and connections were made, all while celebrating the many ways the exhibitors work toward sustainability.

The Sustainability Summit at Alder Hall opened with the Huskies for Humanity speakers panel, featuring deans and students from three schools taking on the theme of “Solving Grand Challenges,” identifying the barriers to solving what they see as the largest issues regarding sustainability in various disciplines and how to address them.

The panel included Dean Lisa Graumlich and Oceanography PhD student Hilary Palevsky from the College of the Environment, Dean James Jiambalvo and MBA student Chris Metcalfe from the Foster School of Business, and Dean Howard Frumkin and Environmental Health MS student Jessica Levasseur from the School of Public Health. Even across the different perspectives, common themes emerged, especially the need to connect with people and find connections so that the challenges feel less overwhelming and possible solutions more personal.

The panel was followed by a reception featuring posters from several environmental student projects funded by the Campus Sustainability Fund and Green Seed Fund. Attendees continued the discussions started during the panel while also learning about the projects from the students and faculty involved.

The evening closed with the Husky Highlight keynote address from Karen Baebler, Assistant Director of Athletics for Sports Operations, who talked about the measures UW Athletics has taken toward sustainability, including a number of features integrated into the recent renovation of Husky Stadium.

Another one of the main events happened Thursday afternoon, when representatives from Boeing, The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Federal Government’s General Services Administration joined students for a “Sustainable Careers Meet and Greet.” Each organization gave a short presentation on how they incorporated sustainability into their organization, as well as possible career paths. The meet and greet portion of the evening was followed by small group discussions with students who asked questions to each of the representatives.

After the breakout sessions, both the students and organizational representatives came away feeling they had the chance to make real connections and gain a new perspective, which was the goal of the inaugural SustainableUW Festival. We hope the festival not only exposed the UW community to sustainability efforts they may not have known about, but also provided a forum for students, faculty and staff to create networks and find new opportunities to work toward a sustainable future.